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For more than 30 years, Thornwillow has been dedicated to teaching and perpetuating the related arts and crafts of the written word. We believe that in this age of disposable and intangible communications — in a time when books can literally be turned on and off with a switch — beautiful objects, made to last by human hands, matter more than ever.
We are printers and publishers of handmade limited edition books. And after years of following great craftspeople to the corners of the earth (we had a handmade paper making operation in the Czech Republic, book binding in England, and engraving in Pensacola, Florida), we set out to consolidate all of these crafts in one place.
To that end, we found Newburgh, New York, a beautiful Hudson River town just 60 miles north of New York City. Newburgh is a city with enormous potential and yet significant challenges. Despite its historical importance and architectural vibrancy—the city boasts the largest historic district in New York state—Newburgh, with a population of approximately 25,000, is today among America’s most distressed communities.
In Newburgh, we have consolidated all of our workshops in a complex of historic buildings around the corner from George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters — this complex of buildings is our neighborhood, our village, our Thornwillow Makers Village.
For all that our village is local (training, employing, and housing artists and artisans, as well as hosting readings, concerts, exhibitions, and performances), our village unites a global community of readers, collectors, artists, writers, academics, and craftspeople who engage in the work we do each day.
Since 2005, Thornwillow has called Newburgh home, operating out of a renovated coat factory in historic downtown. Today, the Press includes a team of editors, designers, printers, and bookbinders working everyday to bring these beautiful, timeless books to life through the cultivation of ancient crafts. We are one of the last fine presses in the world bringing all the crafts and processes of bookmaking together in one place; what begins at one end of the building as an idea takes shape and comes out the other side as a finished, handmade book to last (more than) a lifetime.
Our books are in the permanent collections of the Morgan Library, the White House, the Vatican, the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum and, thanks to backers like you, the homes of thousands of people across the globe who share in the joys and inspirations that can be found at the intersection of beautifully made, well crafted objects and a universe of compelling and moving ideas.
We have been doing what we are doing for years, but we have reached a turning point. We need your help to continue the trajectory we are on, and we need your help to grow. Books are integral to our lives. They are meant to be read; to be seen, touched, and smelled; and shared in families and communities.
For the first time ever, we are inviting you—the members of our community—to help CHOOSE upcoming Thornwillow publications.
Every person who backs our campaign for The Thornwillow Makers Village (even for as little as $1!) will be eligible and encouraged to participate by submitting suggestions for quotes, poster-worthy poems, chapbooks, and even book titles. PLUS there are prizes like FREE books and broadsides at stake, both for all backers, and for the individuals who submit winning titles. Help aim the Thornwillow ‘canon’ in 2020!
The Thornwillow Makers Village is a massive undertaking with many moving parts that will come together in stages over time. Located in the heart of Newburgh’s downtown, the project builds on the success of Thornwillow Press to transform a complex of historic buildings into a hub of craft, culture, and community. Centered around a long abandoned coat factory that we restored to house the Press, plans for the Makers Village include: Artist Studios and Residences, Classrooms and Maker Labs for workshops and teaching, Gallery, Performance, and Exhibition Spaces, An indoor and outdoor Market Hall, and A Video and Audio Recording Studio and Broadcast Center. We can’t do it all at once… so we are taking it in steps.
That said, we have launched this campaign to build momentum for TWO immediate and specific projects that are pivotal to our mission. They are anchor projects for the greater master plan described above. They are ready for lift off, but need your help in order to take flight.
For decades, downtown Newburgh has been without a bookstore. Meanwhile beautiful buildings like those in the Makers Village have been neglected and left to decay.
The Corner Building, which will house our planned Community Bookstore & Cafe and two Residences will be a modern bookstore rooted in ancient crafts, serving a united local and global community. You will be able to come in for a quiet place to read, have a coffee, meet a friend, hear a talk or reading, or listen to music on a Friday evening. If you are far away, even if you are on the other side of the globe, the Makers Village Bookstore will be your shop around the corner. You will receive books printed here, by people who live here. You will hear podcasts, watch videos, and admire online exhibitions that are catalyzed here and made accessible the world over. In supporting this project, you are engaging with people and their work, you are connecting with a global community, an international conversation and shared passion for books. Whether you write them, make them, or collect them… the Makers Village Bookstore will unite you with kindred souls.
In addition to the Community Bookstore & Cafe, once completed, the corner building will also provide housing for both permanent and visiting artists and artisans. It will be a place for us to house visiting writers and scholars. It will and enable us to put up participants in multi-day workshops and classes, house fellows, students, and interns. It will become a much needed home base, an oasis of hospitality.
The project is shovel ready. We have architectural plans, planning board approval, and building permits. We have an excellent contractor lined up, ready to begin work immediately. We have even been awarded substantial grants from New York State, the Ford Foundation, and The Rowley Foundation to get the project underway. The overall budget for this building is $600,000. We have raised and secured pledges for $200,000. Which means that we still need $400,000 to make it happen. We can get there through generous donations (which are tax deductible in the U.S.) and by growing our subscriber base which will enable us to allocate proceeds to the project. So, while we are well on the way, we need your help to bridge the gap in our funding.
Another project that is growing, but needs support to become sustainable is the Thornwillow Dispatch.
This past year we launched the Thornwillow Dispatch — our monthly subscription of beautifully printed ideas and inspirations. Each month, subscribers receive a new limited edition publication (it could be a short story, an essay, or a poem) along with an assortment of beautifully printed goods for your study (from broadsides and calendars to notebooks, and correspondence cards) The Dispatch has already established a loyal following and we have exciting plans.
The Thornwillow Patron’s Prize for Emerging Artists: In order to turn this good thing into a GREAT THING… we are excited to announce the Patron’s Prize — Thornwillow’s first literary prize to support emerging talent.
In collaboration with the New York Foundation for the Arts, we will identify and publish 3 new emerging writers in 2020 as part of the Thornwillow Dispatch. The Patron’s Prize aims to support and catalyze the careers of up and coming artists and writers. Not only will winners have their work published in a beautiful, letterpress printed edition, but we will distribute copies to reviewers, critics, editors, and other opinion leaders in the literary and art world. We will also deposit copies in institutional collections so that these new voices will not only be heard but preserved.
The Patron’s Prize is made possible with the support of Patron Subscribers. Patron Subscribers will not only receive a copy for their own collection (in a special, more elaborate and more limited signed and numbered edition), they will also be credited on the Patron’s Register accompanying each copy sent out as part of the prize distribution — a testament to their commitment to this important endeavor.
Over the years our books have ranged widely in content. We have worked with some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers— from Mark Strand, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Kay Ryan, and John Updike, to Walter Cronkite, William L. Shirer, Barack Obama and Jill Lepore to name a few.
We have also published classic texts ranging from the sonnets of William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Barrett Browning to uniquely illustrated editions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Dante’s Inferno, and The Great Gatsby. What unites our work is the dream that the shelf of books that we create will add up to more than the sum of its parts, that our work presents and preserves ideas that matter for a community of readers now and for years to come.
We start with a beautiful layout, following historic ratios of text to page for luxurious margins that make our books a pleasure to read.
As you run your fingers across the page, you can feel the type pressed into the paper— we still print all of our books letterpress, an ancient art that dates back to Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century.
Each book is bound by hand by master bookbinders using only the highest quality materials — handmade paste and marble papers, Moroccan leathers, and heavy archival stock. A Thornwillow book enhances the relationship between the reader and the written word.
Thornwillow is a living museum of bookmaking, from inspiration to publication, and home to an extraordinary collection of historic equipment and uncommon talent.
We are committed to preserving increasingly rare and special tools and machines and training people in the related arts and crafts of the written word.
It takes years of dedication to master these crafts. It is therefore imperative that new people are brought into the fold so that the artisanal skills of bookmaking endure.
In subscribing to a Thornwillow publication, and in backing this project, you are not just adding a beautiful book that is likely to appreciate in value over time to your collection, you support writers, artists, editors, designers, typesetters, printers, engravers, and bookbinders who dedicate themselves every day to the pursuit of their crafts. You support a local community that makes it possible for artists and craftspeople to live, work, and play in an affordable and inspiring environment. You help to unite a global community of readers, collectors, artists, and patrons of the arts who share in the joy of craft as an antidote to virtual and intangible relationships. You, yourself, become part of a broad and diverse movement that celebrates the written word.
We are offering a variety of tiers for backers near and far to share and take part in our vision — from broadsides and posters, to publications, workshops, and experiences. We hope you become inspired by our mission.
Philip K. Dick is one of the most influential science fiction writers of the past half century. He is responsible for numerous short stories and 45 novels. His work was successful during his lifetime but has grown exponentially in influence since his death in 1982. He is widely known for the dizzyingly successful Hollywood adaptations of his work like “Blade Runner” (based on “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”), “Total Recall,” “Minority Report,” “A Scanner Darkly” and “The Man in the High Castle.” His short stories are particularly inspired and darkly humorous. Subscribe to the 2020 Season of the THORNWILLOW DISPATCH in either the regular edition or the Patron’s Edition to receive “The Eyes Have It” in January.
Subscriptions to the THORNWILLOW DISPATCH in both regular and Patron’s Editions include Dispatches every month from January through December 2020, with Patron’s Edition subscriptions including TWO VERSIONS — both regular and Patron’s Edition copies — of the anchor publications each month. The 2020 Season of the Thornwillow Dispatch kicks off with “The Eyes Have It” in January, but we will keep you in suspense about the contents of the subsequent months, as the Thornwillow Dispatch is meant to surprise and delight.
The Thornwillow Dispatch is also a perfect gift. Pledge for this tier and have us ship the monthly installments to a lucky friend.
While it is now too late to subscribe to the the December Dispatch featuring Adam Gopnik’s ALL ALIKE, we have set a limited number aside to give as an EARLY BIRD SPECIAL to subscribers to the Full 2020 Season of the Thornwillow Disaptch. Adam is one of the most celebrated writers and social observers of our day. He is best known as a staff writer for The New Yorker—to which he has contributed non-fiction, fiction, memoir and criticism since 1986—and as the author of the essay collection Paris to the Moon, an account of five years that he, his wife Martha, and son Luke spent in the French capital.
ALL ALIKE is a beautiful meditation on the life cycle and individuality of a snowflake, inspired in large part by Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley’s dazzling photographs from the turn of the century.
Having become something of a pejorative, we hear the term “snowflake” thrown around a lot these days. However, as we approach the holidays and a new year, and continue to engage as a society in the discourse of difference and identity, it behooves us to consider the subject. In “All Alike,” Adam Gopnik provides the perfect window into a classic metaphor, and the venue for a deliberation more relevant now than ever.
Several pledge tiers feature letterpress printed limited edition posters to help you celebrate the written word — A PARADISE FOR BOOKS, Robert Frost’s THE ROAD NOT TAKEN, and Shakespeare’s ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE.
“A Writer’s Life and Work” Broadside features quotes by writers on writing and was printed to commemorate the first Newburgh Literary Festival. It is part of the ongoing Thornwillow Broadside Library. Broadsides are pocket-sized and quotable, featuring poems, speeches, and other short texts (and are a bit like baseball cards that celebrate the written word).
Custom Letterpress Poster: At this tier, we will work with you to design and print a custom, letterpress poster for yourself, a cause you care about, your band, or, well… almost anything! We also invite you to visit the Press during the printing of your poster to learn about the process from our Master Printers and try your hand at the craft as well! Edition of 200.
Custom Bookbinding: There is little better than a beautifully bound copy of a favorite book. Here is an opportunity to have our master craftspeople make a custom binding for you or to give as a gift to a friend.
Let us transform a cherished book into a treasured heirloom. Our Master Bookbinders will rebind a book for you in Hafl Cloth, Half-Leather, or Full Leather. The half leather and full leather bindings also come with a custom suede lined clamshell box with a gold tooled leather spine label to protect and preserve it. If you are near, you can visit the press while we are working on your book. If you are far, we will send you images of your book being made.
You can send us your book in the mail, drop it off in person, or have us locate a requested title for you (There would be an additional cost for sourcing the book depending on the edition you would like us to find). If you would rather have a blank book, album, journal, guestbook, or portfolio, that is possible too.
Commission Thornwillow to print a collection of poetry, a short story you’ve written, a collection of family recipes, or any other cherished text in a beautiful, letterpress printed chapbook. At this tier, we will work with you to lay out, print letterpress, and bind in paper wrappers a text of your choosing.
This price includes up to 32 pages in a limited edition of 50 copies bound in paper wrappers. However if you are interested in more elaborate bindings, longer texts, or other customizations, we will work with you to create the edition of your dreams. Modifications will add to the cost, which we will work out together after the campaign ends. Note also, that shipping will be billed additionally based on the weight and destination of the final order. If you have any questions about this tier, please contact the press directly at [email protected] or +1 (845) 569-8883.
Do you like to work with your hands? Do you sometimes like to get dirty? Pledge for a workshop at Thornwillow and not only support the cause of the Makers Village to help us get our bookstore off the ground… BUT ALSO get a physical, hands on experience of making something beautiful.
Paste Paper Making Workshop: For your generous support of our mission, we invite you and up to 5 friends to join us for an afternoon in the Makers Village and take part in a Private Paste Paper Making Workshop. Learn how we create the beautiful, hand-made paste papers used in our books and make your own to bring home. Use paste paper to cover books, wrap gifts, and decorate your home. We will serve you lunch at the press. Remember to wear old clothes—it can get messy!
Paste Paper Making Kit: If you can’t come to Thornwillow, bring the magic of the Makers Village home! With this PASTE PAPER MAKING KIT, you will learn how we create the beautiful, hand-made paste papers used on our books. Then, just add water and any acrylic paint to create your own and use it to bind a journal, wrap a gift, or make a cover for your favorite book. Includes our signature premixed paste formula, paper and instructions.
Introduction to Bookbinding Workshop: We invite you and up to 5 friends to join us for an afternoon in the Makers Village and take part in a Private Introduction to Bookbinding Workshop. Learn how we create our beautiful, hand-made books and make your own blank book or journal to bring home. Or bring a favorite book to rebind. We will serve you lunch at the press. Remember to wear old clothes—it can get messy!
Introduction to Calligraphy Workshop: Do you want to learn the basic strokes of the calligraphic arts, or do you want expert guidance in how to improve your own handwriting? Here’s your opportunity. We invite you and up to 5 friends to join us for an afternoon in the Makers Village to take part in a Private Introduction to Calligraphy Workshop. We will serve you lunch at the press.
At this tier, we will designate a shelf of the new Makers Village Bookstore to be named in your honor. Choose any name—yours or a loved one’s—and commemorate the bond shared between lovers of books all across the globe. By way of thanks, you will also receive the 2020 Season of the Thornwillow Dispatch Patron’s Edition.
Please note that the Thornwillow Institute is a 501(c)3 public charity and your any contribution pledged “without reward” is tax deductible in the United States to the full extent of the law. All of the proceeds from this campaign will support Thornwillow’s mission, so any way that you can help us grow will make a difference.
SPECIAL THANKS to Mark Carranceja and Noisemaker Media for filming and editing our wonderful project video, and to Lauren Renner and Woody Campbell for capturing beautiful photographs of the Thornwillow world.
We have successfully conducted twenty-eight past projects, and are confident in our ability to manage any unexpected challenges. We do not anticipate any with this project. That said, we will always communicate them to our backers if they do arise. The Makers Village is a multifaceted, multistage endeavor. While we do not anticipate any issue with being able to deliver any of the pledge rewards, the degree to which we realize the greater goals of the project will depend on how much we raise above and beyond the cost of delivering the rewards that can be allocated to realizing the dream.